Losing a family pet is always a painful experience, but it can be even more painful if they just disappear.
Not knowing what happened or whether you will ever see them again weighs on the soul.
One Reddit user was eventually reunites with their dog, but when they told the story it quickly became clear that it wasn't as cut and dry of a situation as it might seem.
Reddit user dogstollenfortwoyears told their story and asked the subReddit AmITheA**hole's opinion.
"I adopted my dog from a shelter August 15, 2014. It was a small sized mutt which looked a little like a collie, so we named her Collie. Collie is the 3rd member of our childless household of family pets, we had 1 more dog and a cat."
Their first mistake became glaringly obvious almost immediately.
Dogs should not be let loose to run around the neighborhood, no matter how much they enjoy it.
"We had Collie let loose to run around the neighbourhood every evening, and she would come back in about 30 minutes. It wasn't that we won't walk her, she just doesn't do well with a leash and prefers to run around all by herself. Our other dog prefers to be leashed and me or my wife would walk her every other day."
Eventually the inevitable happened, and Collie didn't return from one of her unsupervised romps.
"One day Collie didn't return, it was 11 May 2018 (yes I record down the dates). We were devastated and looked for her for weeks. Posters with reward, social media and shelters, we did everything we could. Eventually we gave up and accepted that we may never see Collie again."
That wasn't the last dogstollenfortwoyears would see of Collie though, a chance encounter while working reunited the pair.
"Last month, I was visiting a client's house and on the way happened to saw Collie entertaining herself in somebody's yard. I wasn't sure at first, but the similarities were definitely there, so I called out her name and she actually raised her head and responded, that confirmed it. I went knocking on the door and 2 children answered, the adults weren't home."
The whole series of events was apparently the result of a misunderstanding.
"It turns out that the younger child of the family took Collie from the streets, thinking that she was abandoned. The family took Collie in and never bothered to find her owners (Collie had been microchipped and my contact number was on her collar)."
It's hard to blame the kid for thinking Collie was abandoned, dogs don't generally roam the neighborhood without a human if they have a home.
Still should have checked for a microchip, though.
"I told the 2 children that I will be taking Collie and left them my number, telling them to let their parents contact me for the expenses for 2 years, I will pay them. They tried to stop me but I warned them that they have stolen my dog and that stopped them."
Maybe scaring the kids wasn't the best course of action.
"I had been in contact with their parents and they've begged me to return Collie to them. They said that they could even pay me for her. I said no, Collie is part of my family and they should have thought of that when they decided to keep a stolen dog."
"I had been running through pictures of the family's Facebook Page and from the videos and pictures it seems that they really did love her and treated her very well. It doesn't excuse them from stealing her though."
Dogstollenfortwoyears wasn't completely without compassion, but still wouldn't give in.
"The parents of the family are guilt tripping me, saying how devastated their children were and such. I won't budge, neither would my wife, but it does makes me a little sad that they have to be separated like that. AITA?"
Redditors and Twitter users seemed to agree that dogstollenfortwoyears was definitely at fault.
But many also found blame with the family who found Collie.
"You let your dog run stray, they didn't do their due diligence. Also, you're not legally in the right, depending on where you live. In my state, and in most states, after a year of ownership, the dog is the property of the finders. They could sue you for the dog or just call the police and likely get the dog back." -happycorrie22
"While you're legally correct. I have to say [You're The A**hole] (YTA). You let your dog to run loose, you lost her as a result. Consequences for actions and all that. A loving family found her and cared for her, it seems better than what you could or were willing to provide. You can be legally in the right and still an AH, those are not mutually exclusive." -FreedomDragon01
"[Everyone Sucks Here] (ESH), you for letting your dog out unsupervised in the neighbour hood (this never would have happened if you had supervised your dog), but mainly them for never getting her checked for a microchip. It's like they didn't want to know who owned her." -spacemango69
"ESH—you shouldn't be letting your dog roam in a manner where she could be perceived as lost. not because it makes it free game, but it's really dangerous in general."
"However, just straight up snatching a dog that isnt yours and just not attempting to see who she belonged to when there was clear proof that she belonged to somebody before integrating into your family also really blows." -nanneichii
Always get a stray checked for tags and a microchip if you find one. Also, don't let your dogs run wild throughout the neighborhood unsupervised.
The dog getting picked up by a loving family is the least that could happen.